Any good recommended reading for total newbie :)


Link Posted 15/01/2012 - 20:31
Hi all

Well my camera arrived, I was all rosy cheeked and flushed with excitement at my shiny new acquisition (Pentax k-r) and after firing off a few shots I came to the realisation, I am woefully under equipped with knowledge to make much use of it. It is my first foray into the intimidating world (to me anyway!) of the dSLR but I want to learn, so after searching online I thought I would ask if anyone has any recommended reading, tutorials, or indeed courses/clubs (I am in Leeds, West Yorkshire). I don't even really understand which lens is supposed to do what to be honest so when I said newbie, I mean totally, from scratch. I am currently like a donkey with a machine gun, no idea why I have it and buggered if I know how to use it!

Thanks for any help, tips, suggestions, all will be taken on board

Shel xx


Link Posted 15/01/2012 - 20:42
Hi Shel

When I was starting out I found that most of the books about digital photography seemed to be more about how to use a computer than how to use the camera so I picked up a few old photography technique books from the library and second hand book stores - can't remember which ones but enjoyed them more as they were much more about the photo technique - not everything in them matches the dslr exactly but they are still useful.

As dslrs follow the same controls etc it made it easy to follow for me.

Hope this helps


K10D, K5 plus plenty of clueless enthusiasm.

My Flickr site link


Link Posted 15/01/2012 - 20:49
If your in Leeds you could try dropping fatspider a message. Regarding the books I found the Michael Freeman books are very good link

But the best advice in the short term is to ask no matter how daft you think the question is and have fun.



Link Posted 15/01/2012 - 21:04
Hi Shel, the best mag I found was BDM's The Complete Guide to Digital Photography from Waitrose of all places, only have volume one but it does explain quite a few things very well. But as Graham says just have some fun with the camera, i've been shooting things on all the different settings and some have worked and some have not!
All the best

And come him slow or come him fast it is but death who comes at last.


Link Posted 15/01/2012 - 22:04
spend a couple of hours a week at your local college on a digital photography course, cost about 70-90 for a term. start with beginners and carry on, you learn a lot not only the camera but also the post production, also the social side as well, a local group of like minded people.
Went down this route and start 5th term next week. kept going as you keep learning plus we have ended up as a group who can praise or criticise each other ,quite harshly sometimes, but no one takes offence as it is all part of the learning curve. also it makes you get out and use that expensive kit you have even when the doldrums set in and you can,t be bothered. you have a project to get in on time, or you have homework.
all in all i have found it a scource of learning, friendship and fun
K3 II and the odd lens or 2



Link Posted 15/01/2012 - 22:07
+1 on Freeman... Super inspirational!!

TBH... The manual that came with the camera will teach you the most...

Strobist blog is good later on, and the 'other site' ( is very useful too!
Pentax K5- Vivitar 19mm 3.8; FA35mm f2; D-Xenon 100mm macro f2.8; DA50-200mm WR...
Yongnuo YN-560; Vivitar 285HV; Cactus V4 triggers...
Pentax-MX & M50mm f1.4; Spottie & 55mm f1.8; MG & M40mm 2.8...



Link Posted 15/01/2012 - 22:23
Thanks for all the suggestions, all very useful (and why didn't I think of my local library *head slap*!) much appreciated, and keep any tips or suggestions coming you are all being really friendly and helpful, I really appreciate that lots


Link Posted 15/01/2012 - 22:26
If you want to understand the foundations of photography I would take a look at the following books.

Understanding Exposure, 3rd Edition
Peterson, Bryan August 11, 2011

Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Books, Volumes 1, 2, and 3, ePub
Kelby, Scott August 13, 2011

From the various books I have read or looked through, the above are in my opinion the best


Link Posted 15/01/2012 - 23:02
I consider myself still to be barely out of newbie status so thanks for all the tips everyone.

Twitter | Someone said time-lapse?
Pentax K5 | Samsung N9005 | DA 18-55 WR | DA 35 2.4 | DA 50 1.8
Tamron 10-24 SP | Tamron 90 2.8 Macro | Tamron 70-300 Macro
Samyang 85 1.4 ...and a few other manual lenses older than me.


Link Posted 15/01/2012 - 23:15
Possibly the first thing to realise is that you can't break the camera (well you can, but not by pressing the shutter)

With that said, everytime you press the shutter it has cost you NOTHING and by changing a setting slightly and then comparing the shots you will quickly learn the basics of exposure etc and by doing so remember them beter than reading about it.

Try the "green setting" for starters then make changes from there to disover why "Mr Pentax" has made those settings

Composure and clever artistic work can come later.

Keep taking pictures and when you're happy with them share them with us. If you're not happy and still can't figure it out, share them anyway and someone will advise what might be done to improve them.

Above all don't give up (my 2-1/2 year old grand daughter has taken to using my sons camera and does quite well, probably beause she's not realised that it might be difficult)



Link Posted 16/01/2012 - 01:56
Hi Shel, I've found the following website has excellent and informative tutorials on most aspects of digital photography



Link Posted 16/01/2012 - 12:33
DaveHolmes wrote:
+1 on Freeman... Super inspirational!!

TBH... The manual that came with the camera will teach you the most...

Strobist blog is good later on, and the 'other site' ( is very useful too!

+2 on Michael Freeman - he writes excellent and more importantly - understandable books
No matter how many lenses I have owned - I have always needed just one more


Link Posted 16/01/2012 - 13:28
The biggest problem I think is not that you haven't learned every function of the camera, but is the inability to see what a great photographer sees eg when the scene looks just right.



Link Posted 16/01/2012 - 23:21
Try to get on a few days out with one or more of the PU members close to you in and around Leeds - you will probably learn more this way in a few hours than you would in weeks of reading books and magazines.


Nicola's Apartments, Kassiopi, Corfu

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs
Add a Comment
You must be registered or logged-in to comment.